Next Afghanistan commander supports troops past 2014

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The Pakistan army and civil armed forces have suffered 5000 dead and many thousand injured in operations in the tribal region. Thousands upon thousands have already been killed by the terrorist attacks across the country and the figure is rising. Pakistanis are hoping that when in 2014 US troops will leave, this blood-soaked frenzy will come to halt and they would again live a normal life and so is the thinking of Afghans.

But this is not simple as it looks and certainly the new commander of US in Afghanistan, General Joseph Dunford doesn’t think so.

According to the media reports, Dunford says, “In my view our overall objective in Afghanistan after 2014 will be to sustain our hard-won security gains after 2014 so that Afghanistan never again becomes a safe haven for terrorists,” Dunford wrote to the senators. “To accomplish this objective, the primary missions of the U.S. military in Afghanistan should be to (1) train, advise, and assist the ANSF; (2) provide support to civilian agencies, and (3) conduct counter-terrorism operations.  This mission set will include force protection for our brave young men and women and, as available, the provision of in extremist support for our Afghan forces.”

Somebody should tell Dunford ground realities like penned by Noor Behram, “When people are out there picking up body parts after a drone strike, it would be very easy to convince those people to fight against America.” And Dunford may get an urge to be the first to fight a successful war in Afghanistan but that would cost US a total economic meltdown and thankfully it seems that Obama and his veterans understand that.

Dunford should support the current NATO-approved plan to shift over lead responsibility for all of Afghanistan’s territories to the Afghan National Security Forces by mid-2013, at which point international forces will shift to a role of training, assisting, and advising the Afghans. That interim milestone was set at the Lisbon summit of 2010 as followed up in the NATO Chicago summit earlier this year. And above all Pakistan must not be ignored in all this purpose, because it would be futile to go for anything without Pakistan.

About Brig. (r) Junaid Zaman

Servicing the nation in new uniform.

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